Andrew W. Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow for African American Art

/ Giving News + Support - In the Community - Staff Updates

Reports to: Deputy Director & Chief Curator

Status: Full time, two-year appointment

Job Purpose: The Mellon Fellowship offers the opportunity to gain professional curatorial experience in a mid-size museum setting.  The Fellow is primarily responsible for collection- and exhibition-related research focusing on African American art and artists and related issues, with an emphasis on developing engaging exhibitions and publications, researching and identifying acquisitions through purchase and gift, audience development, fundraising and public relations, and additional duties as appropriate to specific projects. The Fellow also oversees educational and social events, travel and acquisitions for the Sankofa Society, an active Museum collection support group.

Museum Description

Founded in 1951, the Birmingham Museum of Art is one of the premier museums of the southeast, with a collection of more than 25,000 objects that represent a rich panorama of international cultures, past and present.  Six curators oversee the collection in the areas of European Art, Modern and Contemporary Art, Decorative Art, Asian Art, Arts of Africa and the Americas, and American Art.  The Museum’s educational programs are designed around the collection and special exhibitions, and provide opportunities for all ages and levels of experience to connect with art. Visit for more information.

African American Art Collection at the BMA

The Museum boasts impressive holdings of African American art in a wide variety of media by artists such as Henry Ossawa Tanner, Robert S. Duncanson, Bill Traylor, Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, Ernest Withers, Thornton Dial, Jack Whitten, Lorna Simpson, Kerry James Marshall, Carrie Mae Weems, Glenn Ligon, Odili Donald Odita and numerous others.  In addition to this impressive foundation, there exists an avid local collector base and a concentrated commitment on the Museum’s part to further acquisitions of African American art, especially the work of emerging and mid-career artists. The Birmingham Museum of Art aims to amass a world-class collection that illuminates the range of motivations, creativity and aesthetics of black artists working in all artistic media, with the eventual goal of being a center and requisite destination for anyone with an interest in viewing, studying and researching the art of 20th– and 21st-century African American artists.


The successful candidate must hold a Ph.D. in art history or related discipline, with demonstrated expertise in African American art, and strong collaborative and organizational skills. In addition, the Fellow must be a passionate and energetic person with the ability to manage, research, exhibit, and develop an important collection. S/he must have the interest and ability to share the collection with diverse audiences and to build a positive image and lasting relationships for the Birmingham Museum of Art. S/he must be an innovative thinker and a great communicator with the ability to present exhibitions of African American art  and works in the permanent collection to all internal and external Museum constituencies.

Salary/Application Process:

As a two-year, full-time commitment, the Fellow is exposed to all aspects of curatorial operations and participates in the daily activities of the Museum’s curatorial department.  The fellowship carries a yearly salary of $44,000 plus selected benefits. Additional operating resources are designated to support the research and implementation of programs and exhibitions devised by the Mellon Fellow.

Candidates should submit via email a curriculum vitae, contact information for three references, and a statement specifying: 1) the applicant’s research goals; 2) how these goals relate to or will benefit the Birmingham Museum of Art and Birmingham community; 3) how resources at the BMA might be used to accomplish these goals.

Review of applications will be ongoing until the position is filled. Position start date is flexible. The Birmingham Museum of Art is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Application materials should be sent to: Jeannine O’Grody, Deputy Director & Chief Curator, [email protected]